Blue Origin will perform a high-altitude abort test at 10AM ET

19 Juillet, 2018, 02:56 | Auteur: Therese Cote

Although it has not yet provided details, the company says it will fly "a high altitude escape motor test-pushing the rocket to its limits".

However, before any of that can happen the company needs to make sure its hardware is up to the task, and flights like the one today are steps in that direction.

The high-altitude emergency abort test is created to figure out what may happen when there's a problem with the launch rocket, according to Engadget. This propelled the capsule to an altitude of roughly 119 kilometers (74 miles), a record height for the company. Both the booster and the capsule landed safely less than 12 minutes after liftoff, the latter touching down softly on the desert floor under parachutes, sending up a plume of dust. The launch from Blue Origin's test site in West Texas is set to occur at 14:00 UTC - with the test campaign now in the final leg ahead of carrying paying customers.

While this test was unmanned, the reusable rocket is created to deliver payloads - and potentially tourists - to sub-orbital space.

The test campaign began in 2015, and despite the loss of the first booster, the second flight in November 2015 kick-started a successful run of test flights.

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The reusable New Shepard rocket settles to a picture-perfect touchdown. The company is already selling tickets for adventurous travelers who want to spend a short while in space, and you can stick your name on the list if you've got a spare $200,000 lying around. (Blue Origin via You Tube) New Shepard's capsule fires its retros as it touches down for a landing.

The roomy capsule, packed with experiments and an instrumented test dummy known as Mannequin Skywalker, rapidly shot away atop a brilliant jet of flame and 70,000 pounds of thrust, demonstrating the quick-response safety system will work if needed, regardless of the altitude.

The launch included a number of different scientific instruments, medical items, and testing materials, along with Blue Origin's "Fly My Stuff" program, where the company's employees send their own materials into space.

Blue Origin has yet to announce when it will start taking reservations or how much flights will cost.

Blue Origin has completed a sprawling rocket factory near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to build New Glenn rockets and is developing a launch pad at the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The next flight, Cornell said, will feature "finished customer interiors" like those that will be used on commercial flights of the vehicle, meant to carry up to six people.

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